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National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Written by Library in Library Blog on September 28, 2022
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Land Acknowledgment

Alexander College acknowledges that the land on which we usually gather is the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We are grateful to have the opportunity to live and work in this territory.

What is a Land Acknowledgement?

A land acknowledgment is a statement which acknowledges Indigenous presence and the history of colonialism within a specific environment. Acknowledgments function as a gesture of respect and education; these acknowledgments ask settlers (both recent and historical) to situate themselves within an ongoing history of colonialism.

Questions about the vocabulary used (traditional, ancestral, unceded)? See UBC’s What is a Land Acknowledgment post for more information.

Learn More

Learn more about the Nations on which you conduct your studies at Alexander College by exploring their websites:

Musqueam Nation (xʷməθkwəy̓əm)
Squamish Nation (Skwxwú7mesh)
Tsleil-Waututh Nation (Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh)

Want to learn more about Indigenous territories globally? Explore Native Land, which provides a digital map of Indigenous territories all over the world.

What is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?

Each year, September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the children who never returned home and Survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
Both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on September 30. Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”. The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
(Canadian Heritage, 2022)

Alexander College will observe September 30 as a non-instructional day. College campuses will be closed, allowing students and employees a day for reflection on the legacy of residential schools in Canada.

Learn

National Truth and Reconciliation Day is a chance to learn more about the history of residential schools in Canada. Alexander College Library has created an Indigenous Studies Guide, which provides books, eBooks, free online courses, and other resources for AC students to explore and learn. Check out the guide below for more information.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission ran from 2008 – 2015, and collected stories and experiences of Residential School survivors. In 2015 the commission released its final report, which included 94 distinct calls to action. Reading and reflecting on these calls to action is another important way that the AC community can learn and take action. Read through the calls to action by clicking the button below.

Attend

Attend one or several events on September 30th, 2022. Options for virtual and in-person events are listed below.

AC National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Awareness Event
Alexander College has events scheduled from 10am-5:30pm on Thursday, September 29th 2022, where we will acknowledge the negative impact of the residential school system and share the knowledge and traditions of Indigenous cultures.

Remember Me: A National Day of Remembrance
A live-stream event from Parliament Hill in Ottawa; individuals can attend virtually on September 30th.

National Center for Truth and Reconciliation Public Events
A list of virtual public events, live links and YouTube recordings will be available to watch.

UBC Events
UBC has created a list of virtual and in-person public events across British Columbia throughout September and October.

Sound House: Honouring with Orange
An in-person Museum of Anthropology event which includes a showcase of Indigenous dance and reflection to commemorate Orange Shirt Day. It will take place on September 29th from 7-9 pm at MOA’s Haida House.

New Westminster Pipe Ceremony
An in-person event hosted by The Spirit of the Children Society, this event will take place at Westminster Pier Park on September 30th from 3-6 pm.

Orange Shirt Day at Templeton Pool Welcome Garden
An in-person gathering that will include performances, stories, and more. It will take place on September 30th from 2-5pm.

Explore the Witness Blanket: An Interactive Virtual Installation
An in-person exhibit sharing the stories and voices of residential school Survivors. A Vancouver Public Library event located at the nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch, it will take place on September 30th from 1-3pm.

Get Involved

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission defines reconciliation as:
Establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. In order for that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, an acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour
(The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015, p.6)

This definition includes action as a necessary component for meaningful reconciliation. Below are several examples:
  1. Put your learning into action and explore your local surroundings. Do you know your local land acknowledgment? Have you practiced pronunciations? Are you aware if there was a residential school close to you?
  2. Get involved and interested in how your local government is implementing the Calls to Action. Contact your local councilor, MLA, or MP.
  3. Find local organizations that have programming or other events you can continue to attend. In BC, this might include local Aboriginal Friendship Centres.

Connect with Health and Wellness

This is a difficult subject; Alexander College has resources available to students who wish to discuss issues that may be causing distress and personal struggle. Students can make an appointment with our Health and Wellness counsellor or chat virtually using the Here2Talk app.

References

Cover Image: Virtual Background. University of Toronto Scarborough, 2022. https://utsc.utoronto.ca/news-events/our-community/u-t-scarborough-honours-national-day-truth-and-reconciliation-and-orange-shirt-day

Canadian Heritage. (2022). National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Government of Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/national-day-truth-reconciliation.html

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada,
https://ehprnh2mwo3.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Executive_Summary_English_Web.pdf

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